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Acupuncture Helps Stroke Patients
Acupuncture, when combined with
standard western medical therapy, has
been shown to have a remarkably
beneficial effect on stroke patients and
to result in cost savings. In a study in
Scandinavia in 1993, seventy-eight
stroke patients with a mean age of 75
years were
randomly assigned to two
groups. Both groups received standard

individualized stroke rehabilitative care on a daily basis. One group,
however, also received acupuncture. For the acupuncture group, treatment
was began within ten days of the onset of the stroke and continued twice a
week for ten weeks. At each session, a total of ten needles were placed at
traditional acupuncture points on the paralyzed and non paralyzed side.

Activities of daily living, balance, motor function and quality of life were
assessed prior to starting treatment and at one, three, six and twelve month
follow-up intervals.

Those treated with acupuncture recovered faster and to a greater extent
than those who did not receive acupuncture. Significant differences
between the groups were seen at one and three months in balance and
walking. Acupuncture-treated patients also scored significantly better in
activities of daily living at twelve months following the stroke.

Over the course of the year, acupuncture treated patients spent
approximately half the number of days in hopsitals and nursing homes. The
acupuncture patients averaged 88 days, the non-acupuncture group
averaged 161 days. The estimate of the cost savings, based on the lower
number of days required for institutionalized care, was $26,000 per patient.

The study may be found at Scand J Rehab Med Suppl 29:87-96. 1993.

The Sooner The Better

A second study of stroke patients in 1996 suggested that acupuncture
should begin as soon as possible after the stoke patient has become
medically stable. Patients were evaluated by an outside physiotherapist
for motor function and self-evaluated regarding activities of daily living and
quality of life. Within this study, acupuncture patients who began treatment
within three months of the onset of the stroke showed significantly greater
improvement in muscle strength than those who began treatement three to
twelve months after the stroke. Patients whose stroke had occurred years
earlier showed the least improvement.

The study was published in the Compl Ther Med 4:193-197.

Courtesy of the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Alliance.


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